Team of the Week: Autumn Nations Cup, Round Two

Adam Kyriacou

Now that the dust has settled on the second round of the Autumn Nations Cup, we have gone through the action to pick the best players from the games.

It will come as no surprise that England dominate our side with eight players selected, six of those coming in the pack after that victory over Ireland.

So without further ado, here’s our side in all its glory. Please make sure to leave your views and own team selections below in our comments section…

Team of the Week: Autumn Nations Cup, Round Two

15 Thomas Ramos (France): Kicked 14 points off the tee in a steady performance at the back for France. While it wasn’t flash, Ramos did all that was required in a difficult game against an in-form team as Scotland were beaten. France want to be able to entertain with the quality they have but it’s also key they can come out of games, especially away from home, with a win in the bag so Ramos will know his solidity was much more important than metres on Sunday.

14 Blair Kinghorn (Scotland): Despite being on the losing side it was a decent showing from the Edinburgh full-back as he showed some classy touches. Kinghorn continues to prove that he belongs at this level and will be hopeful of keeping hold of a wing jersey, especially with number 15 taken by Stuart Hogg.

13 Virimi Vakatawa (France): Man-of-the-match after another top class performance from the gargantuan centre. So difficult to stop in motion, Scotland could not bring him to ground before he made it to the whitewash for the all-important score in their game at Murrayfield. Vakatawa finished with an impressive 81 metres on Sunday as he continues to grow in confidence in this French team. Mentions go to Ollie Lawrence (England) and Nick Tompkins (Wales).

12 Johnny Williams (Wales): Has been lavished with praise from his midfield partner Tompkins following their game against Georgia. Williams was a solid force at 12 for the Welsh as he finished with a hefty 80 metres from his 13 carries. With Wales struggling he could well have forced himself into the XV.

11 Jonny May (England): The first name down on this team sheet after that two-try performance against Ireland on Saturday. He has been improving on a consistent basis over the past few years and tries like his second at Twickenham show just how far he’s come. Hunger, strength and pace to burn from May.

10 Callum Sheedy (Wales): A tough call here maybe on England’s Owen Farrell, who controlled the match well against the Irish. But we just felt that Sheedy oozed class on his first start for his country, rewarded for his Bristol form. He looked right at home in the Wales jersey and his performance has caused many to wonder whether it is the right time for Sheedy to take over from current fly-half, Dan Biggar, who has struggled to recapture his best form of late.

9 Ben Youngs (England): Joining Sheedy in our half-backs is veteran number nine Youngs. Yes, being behind a pack like England’s is great news for any scrum-half but he made the most of that protection to add to Ireland’s woes, with smart kicking and decision-making seeing him enjoy another solid game.

8 Beka Gorgadze (Georgia): Wales number eight Aaron Wainwright and England’s Billy Vunipola both had strong matches over the weekend, but it was the former’s opponent, Gorgadze, who we settled on in the end. He made an impressive 74 metres from 11 carries and complimented that with 13 tackles.

7 Sam Underhill (England): There was uproar on social media and within some of the press when flanker Jack Willis was left out of the matchday 23 to face Ireland. However, England head coach Eddie Jones had his reasons and Underhill proved him right at Twickenham on Saturday with a typically destructive display that knocked the life out of the Irish. He made 17 bruising tackles, missing none, as he relished his job and earned a pat on the back from Jones.

6 Tom Curry (England): Joining his fellow flanker in the back-row is Curry, who was equally physical as England gave Ireland absolutely nothing in terms of gainline success. It could quite easily have been an all-England trio here but two out of three isn’t bad, with Curry making 20 tackles for the defensive cause.

5 Joe Launchbury (England): The Wasps lock stalwart been in excellent form of late and continued that high level of performance in the English engine room. He made a total of 17 tackles and won four lineouts in his 69 minutes on the pitch. He will hope to have done enough to retain his jersey against Wales.

4 Maro Itoje (England): Much like May, Itoje was right up there as the first name off the tongue when picking this side. He’s putting in titanic performance after titanic performance of late and made life hell for Ireland on Saturday. The rangy second-row claimed six lineouts, disrupted Ireland’s set-piece throughout, made 20 tackles and was strong at the breakdown in a complete showing that had many pundits struggling for superlatives for the superb lock.

3 Kyle Sinckler (England): It was not just England’s locks and back-row that caught the eye as the front-rowers also stood out over the weekend. It was a solid game for Sinckler at tighthead prop as he was very much part of an all-action defensive effort, making 16 hits, while being strong at the scrum.

2 Camille Chat (France): Jamie George misses out here, despite a strong effort, as we go for tough France hooker Chat, who is such an impressive figure up front. Chat is always a rock with ball in hand and showed that yet again on Sunday against Scotland with nine forceful carries as he made 32 metres.

1 Mako Vunipola (England): Completing the side is England loosehead Vunipola, who enjoyed a strong match against one of the form tightheads in the game, Andrew Porter. Vunipola always puts in a shift – 15 tackles is normal for him – but he also impressed at scrum time and was tireless around the field.